Not even death can bring peace for Rehtaeh Parsons, a 17-year-old who committed suicide after snapshots of her alleged rape surfaced online. A Canadian dating site used her images to promote their business on a Facebook ad—further adding insult to Parsons’ tragic demise, Mashable reports.
The Facebook ad shows a picture of Parsons with the words,”Meet Canadian girls and women for friendship, dating or relationships. Sign up now!”
The Huffington Post has the reaction of Parsons’ father Glen Canning:
Perhaps it’s not the worst ad ever but certainly it’s the worst ad I will ever see. It’s bad enough my daughter Rehtaeh died following months of torment and that her sexual assault was immortalized with a photograph, but to see an ad on Facebook using her image is beyond words. What a sickening thing to do!
Canning expressed concern that Parsons’ image was “being used yet again,” but he appreciated Facebook’s quick response to the tactless ad. “To their credit Facebook removed the ad with un-Facebook-like speed and banned the company that posted it,” he said.
The details of Parson’s death is best explained by Mashable:
Rehtaeh Parsons was just 15 years old when she was allegedly raped by four boys at a friend’s home in 2011. She was just 17 when she hanged herself in the bathroom of the family’s home in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Between those two extremes of extraordinary violence, Rehtaeh lived as a perpetual victim — of her rapists, who took a photograph of that night and made sure it spread virally among Parsons’ classmates, and of the Canadian Mounted Police, who never filed a single charge in the case.
A Facebook spokesperson said scraping, the process of automatically collecting data from the web, was to blame for the offensive ad. “This is an extremely unfortunate example of an advertiser scraping an image from the Internet and using it in their ad campaign,” a Facebook spokesperson said. “This is a gross violation of our ad policies and we have removed the ad and permanently deleted the advertiser’s account. We apologize for any harm this has caused.”
Canning lamented that once a picture is posted online, it’s lost in the vast virtual world. “There’s nothing anyone can do but hope those who come across it will use it respectfully,” he said.